Welsh food and drink businesses have been playing a leading role in the creation of an industry led skills strategy to be published next spring.

Spearheaded by the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, a recent conference held at the Cardiff Coal Exchange saw industry figures, training providers and government officials exploring ways of ensuring a future pipeline of skills and labour.

With Welsh food and drink undergoing a period of growth, having continued access to a workforce with the right skills is essential to ensuring its sustainability. A skilled workforce will also help future proof the industry against the uncertainties of Brexit, with figures showing 28% of those currently working in Welsh food and drink manufacturing being born elsewhere in the EU.

The board, in consultation with wider figures from across the industry, will now be working on drafting a skills strategy that drives future growth and innovation. With misconceptions currently existing around career opportunities, the strategy will not only be essential in plugging any skills gaps, but will also seek to challenge misconceptions and raise awareness of the varied opportunities that are available within the industry.

Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, Andy Richardson, said, “We urgently need to understand the future skills requirements of our food and drink producers and to work closely with academia and training providers to deliver those skills and ensure capacity for future growth.

“I was delighted to see so many people proactively engaging with us at the conference, and the board is looking forward to working closely with businesses, training providers and government in finding the right solutions to ensure continued growth.”

A second skills conference is due to be held in north Wales next spring and the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board would welcome any feedback on Chair.

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